Creative and committed to our customers:
Interflex Surprise Service Stories

Surprise Service – Access control needs also exist near the Arctic Circle

We deliver excellent service even under the most adverse conditions. This was demonstrated by our colleague Elias Schmitt with the active support of our software team comprising Jasper Spelt, Marco Etzel and Ilyas Rentzsch while on assignment in the wintry Lapland. The hardware IT consultant had to travel to Arvidsjaur, Sweden, which is about 100 km south of the Arctic Circle. With freezing, stiff fingers he converted approx. 20 access terminals (LAP800 W02 with heating) to Legic® Advant.

The customer, an international automotive supplier, is there testing a variety of developments, including driver assistance systems, on heated and icy test tracks. To get from the small town of Arvidsjaur to the test site on the other side of Arvidsjaurjön (Arvidsjaur Lake) in the winter, it was necessary to cross the lake, which is frozen up to one meter thick, by car. To ensure that unauthorized persons do not use the shortcut across the lake, the access road is secured with barriers. Interflex’s access control system prevents any unauthorized access. At the same time, the existing system was converted to IF-6040 with the support of our software team.

Surprise Service – Key cabinets can now be opened by fingerprint

A large northern German municipal energy provider had switched to biometric terminals from our partner TBS for access control. This customer now wanted to convert his existing KEMAS key cabinets to enable opening with a fingerprint in addition to opening with the customer credential (standard Legic® Prime).

Keys are stored in the key cabinets for personnel, who have access to special areas, e.g. for external employees from third parties. Biometric terminals are installed at the key cabinets to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing the corresponding keys and thus gaining access to the premises by passing on a credential.

Of course, the customer wanted to keep the costs for the conversion as low as possible and maintain the existing key cabinets. Thanks to the close cooperation with TBS and the excellent support of the service colleagues from Hamburg, it was possible to replace the previous card readers on the key cabinets with biometric terminals using a TBS plug-in that was newly programmed for this purpose. No changes had to be made in the KEMAS application, either in terms of hardware or software. We are pleased that we were able to offer the customer an innovative solution within a very short period of time.

Surprise Service – Sometimes creativity is called for when installing hardware

Forty five access readers had to be installed for a customer project. The readers were to be integrated by the customer into an existing housing, for which there was no suitable installation aid. The time-consuming handling and adjustment of the reader on site by a service technician on site was not an option. In any case, it would not have been possible to know which of the two black fields concealed the reader.

The installation date was coming up and a quick solution was required. At an Interflex prototype workshop, a service technician came up with a practical solution in no time at all. The fiber-optic parts were routed and glued in to fit perfectly; in addition to that, the cover was printed with the logo and a ray symbol – no problem with the appropriate tools and aids. Now the technician was able to utilize and connect the terminal quickly and easily at the customer’s premises. The customer was extremely satisfied with the professional and aesthetically pleasing result.

Surprise Service – A successful upgrade and unique project

A large German energy corporation and Interflex Datensysteme GmbH jointly celebrate another project success. The upgrade to the IF-6040 software was positive in every respect. As part of the cooperation with this customer, it was crucial to focus more on project management due to the great complexity of the scope of work. In order to successfully carry out such a large-scale project, Interflex relies on a permanent, highly trained IF project team consisting of eight employees led by Sven-André Petersson: Jörg Rottenbiller, Thomas Frosch, Gerhard Hofmann, Nazim Masih, Kadir Dogan Oezdemir, Bernd Möller and Frédéric Mutter.  

The customer was absolutely thrilled by this team: “It is finished! The latest Interflex major release was successfully installed on the access system without any complications. The changeover went according to plan and in a coordinated manner, the upgrade to the new version was never better before.” And since the cooperation went so smoothly, the customer decided to transfer the overall project management for the conversion of the system across both groups to an external project manager from Interflex (Sven-André Petersson).

The challenges arising with the demerger of the companies were addressed professionally by optimizing certain processes. Interflex took over the switchover to the new hardware and the new credential generation as well as the set-up of the SAP interface.

We handle projects by people for people and the human factor in the project is our key to success. This project was characterized in particular by the interdisciplinary nature of the entire project team: Service (Petra Plein), Support (Ingeborg Baehr) and Development (Dr. Jochem Kries).

The customer would implement another project of this magnitude with Interflex at any time: “The project team led by Sven-André Petersson is a guarantee for the success of a project.”

Surprise Service – The security measures are the most complex or How to exchange dozens of card readers on a North Sea platform

50 meters high, in the middle of the North Sea and 130 kilometers from the coast: These are the key parameters that had to be taken into account during the most extraordinary assignment undertaken by Edmund Obermayer and Sebastian Kardosch thus far. The task was to change out card readers on an offshore platform. And after a one-week safety training course at the Bremerhaven Training Center in the spring of 2020 (see #SurpriseService No. 2), they flew by helicopter to the platform from Emden in the fall. A total of 55 card readers had to be replaced—a task that may sound like a comparatively unexciting job when working on the land turned out to be a complex undertaking requiring maximum attention to safety when working in the middle of the North Sea.

The assignment lasted a total of 17 days – with work being carried out in safety clothing, with helmet and safety goggles, in 12-hour shifts without any days off, and with unannounced emergency drills during periods of rest. “We knew that everything would be a little different–but we did not know how complex everything would actually be,” says Edmund Obermayer with a grin. Work started every day at 7 o’clock sharp, and “until we received the work permit and could actually start, it was between 8 AM and 8:30 AM.” At the start of every shift, there was a briefing with safety instructions every day – after the mandatory corona-related temperature measurement. Preparations had to be made again day after day for the different locations on the platform. “There are rooms that are flooded with quenching gas, should something safety-relevant happen,” says Edmund Obermayer. Of course, this function had to be deactivated in advance in order to ensure that both Interflex colleagues could work there safely. “That’s why everyone always knew on which reader we would work and exchange on the relevant day. The captain of the platform always has to know everything and approve what will be done.”

The work itself went surprisingly smoothly – “nothing moves, you do not feel anything,” says Edmund Obermayer, describing the conditions on the platform, which weighs 22,000 m. tons and whose lower edge is just 20 meters above the sea’s surface. The storm, which made itself noticeable on the first four days with waves of up to 9 meters high, could be felt all the more at night by our Edmund Obermayer and Sebastian Kardosch, while resting on the auxiliary platform. “On the jack-up barge, you could very clearly feel the 9-meter-high waves – since you could roll 15 to 20 centimeter in bed.” The most amazing thing about the assignment? “That I came back home in better shape after two weeks,” says Edmund Obermayer with a laugh. “We never had less than 50 levels to climb, sometimes even 100. 10,000 steps per day was the minimum” – and that on a 70 x 70 meter area with 15 levels. Definitely an exciting place to work for the experienced Interflex technician: “I liked it, because it was something completely different. A paid adventure to be honest!” One that will possibly be repeated soon: after all, the customer, a German energy supplier, was extremely satisfied with the good work performed by Edmund Obermayer and Sebastian Kardosch. And they will probably have a chance to demonstrate their skills again soon on another platform operated by the energy supplier.

Surprise Service – Quick response is required when there is a system problem

A customer reported that a server in its access system had failed at the time that was outside of the maintenance period. In order not to jeopardize ongoing operations at the customer’s premises, our service colleagues attended to the problem immediately and tackled the problem directly. The maintenance agreement entered into with the customer would have been fulfilled if Interflex had responded to resolve the problem within 8 hours – that said, the service personnel responded promptly!

In the event of a server failure in the customer’s high security area, it is no longer possible to guarantee the safety of its employees. In the event of a problem, e.g. a fire or explosion, it is not possible to track who is where with the integrated access control system. With Interflex’ software, reliable evacuation lists can then be created and the persons on site can evacuate in an organized manner. This requires a working connection to the server.

Since a quick response was essential, the Interflex employee got to work straight away and logged into an account on the customer’s system. He remotely rebooted the server, which allowed him to quickly fix the problem in the system.

A fast response time is crucial for this customer, since it is in a systemically important, time-sensitive area. An evacuation of several hundred employees was successfully averted.

With the right service agreements, you can safeguard your business over the long term and have a guarantee to receive professional support at the moment when you need it most.

Surprise Service – How to positively surprise a long-time customer

“We had a lot of respect when it came to the system switch.” In the Tuttlingen District Office, Interflex has been ensuring order in time management for years. At the beginning of the year, a platform-independent Self-service solution was added. The switchover? Without attracting any attention at all and with no impact on daily operations!

Employees, aides, workers, work/study students, civil servants: The diversity of the employees in the district administration of Tuttlingen District Office is large and structurally complex. More than 1,200 people are spread across numerous locations, all working in a wide variety of ways: Seasonal workers and people in marginal employment are also represented, as are part-time and full-time employees.

In order to reliably organize all of its requirements, the district administration has been relying on Interflex as a strategic partner since the early 1990s. In the past few years, the system, which was originally used only to record work times, has grown continuously and now offers online and offline access terminals as well as parking lot management.

Until recently, a Self-service solution was also integrated, the workflow of which was based on Lotus Notes from a previous system partner. When the strategic decision was made not to continue to use Lotus Notes in the future, it was necessary to find a replacement – and this is where Interflex’s own WebClient module came into play: The platform-independent solution provides employees and supervisors with all relevant information via a user-friendly web interface and does not require any installation by the user. The fact that this solution also saves money compared to the previous one was another positive aspect that made the decision to switch easy.

A certain nervousness could not be avoided at first: Would the application run without any errors at the planned time, the beginning of 2020? After all, the task to switch from a system that has grown over many years to a completely new Self-service interface (and the associated revision of the workflow and authorization structure) is a very complex undertaking. “It was clear to us from the start that we had a complex environment here that would not be easy to remove,” says Lars Godina in summary. As the responsible software consultant at Interflex, he knows his users very well: “Of course, everyone in the district administration had become used to the existing system – but backpedaling had to be avoided under any circumstances!”

A joint project team enthusiastically got down to work. The district administration and Interflex together developed an approach, with which stakeholder communication was just as important as the countless preparations and the necessary update of the base system. “Interflex had prepared all managers and key users for the switchover together with us in advance. That made a significant contribution to acceptance. And, in addition to that, it was also possible to implement many new requests,” says Kerstin Singler, the responsible department manager for time management in the District Office, happily. Today, a good six months afterwards, the switchover has been entirely positive: “It has been a very successful project! Initially, we had a lot of respect for the switchover, but we are now almost a bit surprised that it went so well and that we were able to make the complete switchover in just two days. And the fact that we were able to make it so easy for employees to make bookings from home, especially during the corona virus pandemic, was really fantastic!” says Kerstin Singler happily – and Lars Godina only had one thing to add with tongue in cheek: “In other words Surprise Service!” Obviously… To be continued!

Surprise Service – Above the roofs of Hamburg or how to use the corona situation efficiently …

The customer, a large publishing house in Hamburg, approached Interflex with a request for an elevator control system. The goal was to grant only authorized personnel access to the editorial area. In the run-up to the installation, all technical prerequisites for connecting the Interflex system to the existing elevator were clarified over the phone. Interflex coordinated in depth with the customer and the elevator manufacturer in order to be optimally prepared for the installation date.

The schedule for the installation envisaged a quick implementation so that the date of completion fell right in the middle of the corona virus pandemic. Nevertheless, the time for the installation was ideal: The publishing house’s entire staff was working at home so that a temporary shutdown of the elevator did not have any impact on day-to-day business. The timing was perfect! The only contact person on site was the receptionist, who provided us with access to the necessary areas. The customer could be reached by phone for any questions we might have relating to the installation. So there was nothing standing in the way of a smooth installation. Parallel to the installation on-site, the IF-6040 elevator control system was activated and configured by Interflex system consultants. After the work was completed, all floor release functions in the elevator were tested. The subsequent instruction of the IF-6040 key users in the authorization structure of the IF-6040 elevator control system took place remotely.

The complete installation was concluded within just one work day. The customer did not need to be on site either. The customer was informed about the process at all times. Interflex made efficient use of the circumstances caused by the corona virus pandemic, namely the empty offices and premises, and installed an elevator control system that satisfied the customer’s wishes.

As a result of the structural design of the elevator, our technicians were treated to a beautiful view of Hamburg’s Hafencity during their lunch break – such a magnificent view under the best weather does not come along during a service call every day.

Surprise Service – When a customer appointment becomes something very special …

The story which includes Edmund Obermayer and his colleague Sebastian Kardosch shows that some service calls are very special. An operator of offshore platforms for wind energy wanted to have its existing terminals replaced with Mifare readers so that the same technology can be used worldwide in the future. The objective is to be able to grant all employees with access to all locations with one credential. But how do you travel to a location that is more than 100 kilometers from the coast on the open sea? By helicopter, of course! In order to be able to go on this flight and work on the platform, our technicians had to complete a 7-day training course in advance. This course took place in the RelyOn Nutec training center in Bremerhaven.

Training contents included “Basic offshore training”, “Helicopter crash training”, “Surviving at sea including boat transfer”, “Fire prevention and firefighting” and 2 days of “First aid training”. The training center is able to create conditions like those on the open sea. Jumping into cold water from a height of 4 meters in the pitch dark takes a lot of effort! As part of the simulation, a wind force of 10-11 and waves with a height of 1-2 meters were generated. The task was to learn to get into a lifeboat. In addition to that, it was also necessary to help another person requiring assistance to get from the water into the lifeboat. And what do you have to do if the helicopter accidentally crashed into the water? To practice this scenario, the participants who were wearing safety belts had to smash the window and climb out of a mock helicopter in water. Fire prevention and firefighting were also on the agenda. Finding your way out of a room with a respiratory mask without being able to see in a smoke-filled, hot room with various obstacles on the floor is not that easy!

During the first aid course, the participants were acquainted with what it means to work on an offshore platform, how to prevent accidents and what to do in case of an emergency. The platform is cut off from the outside world and any requested assistance may not be able to reach the platform immediately, e.g., when poor weather conditions make it impossible for the helicopter to take off. It is important that the personnel can provide first aid in such cases. Finally, course participants had to practice the “man overboard” scenario with a dummy, which had to be rescued from the water outside of the training center in the Bremerhaven harbor. Our colleagues mastered all of these tasks with flying colors. All training courses and tests were passed. Kudos!

Now Edmund Obermayer and his colleague Sebastian Kardosch were able to begin their work at the customer’s platform. And since these certificates are valid around the world, similar jobs are also conceivable for other customers now. That is what we call limitless flexibility and tremendous sense of responsibility!

Surprise Service – Casting light into the dark …

Initially, it was assumed that a technical solution could not be proposed immediately for the customer’s problem. After all, the challenge was tricky: When lighting conditions are unfavorable, the outside terminal could not read the barcode on the access medium – as a result, the door remained locked and the authorized persons were not able to enter the building. That said, our technician Wolfgang Thielebürger was not satisfied with that. It was immediately clear to him: That was not something you could tell the customer though; we needed a solution!

For him it was self-evident that he needed to investigate the problem some more to ensure that barcodes could be read at the IF-812BI terminals installed at the customer’s premises even without sufficient lighting. After all, persons can only gain access to the corresponding doors after scanning a barcode, even in the dark. That is dedication!

During the labor-intensive end-of-the-year rush, Wolfgang Thielebürger tinkered with the terminal of the relevant model and equipped it with additional LEDs, allowing barcodes to be recognized and read even in the dark now. The prototype passed all internal tests. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Thielebürger drove to the customer and modified the terminal installed there on site with lights. The functional tests were also successful for the customer. Problem solved! The customer was impressed by the flexibility and great commitment demonstrated by Interflex.

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